Peer Resources: What is Coaching?
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What is Coaching?

Rey Carr

Coaching as a profession is relatively new. Because of its origins it might be confused with other forms of helping. However, although it is concerned with helping others and shares some commonalties, it is not therapy; it is not treatment; it is not counselling; it is not consulting; and it is not sports coaching.

Coaching is a way to help people make the best use of their own resources. It is a way to bring out the best of people's capabilities. Coaching helps people set goals and then reach those goals. Coaching is goal and results oriented and can focus on virtually any area of life: business, career, family, health, personal growth, spirituality, intimacy, simple living, and financial development.

Coaching typically takes place on a one-to-one basis, and while most coaching occurs face-to-face, coaching can also be successfully accomplished through telephone and e-mail contact. Successful coaching can happen in just one session. Coaching can be short-term, where the coach helps a client create a vision, achieve a specific goal, or complete a particular project; or it can be long-term, where the client wants coaching for a number of projects and goals.

To help people attain the results they want in life coaches use a variety of tools. They teach, explore alternatives, inspire, act as a sounding board, build confidence and capability, facilitate learning, ask questions, listen with compassion, develop skills, create ownership, provide a challenge, act as a model, and explore potential. A coach often acts as a partner, providing clients with tools, support, and structure to achieve more than they might be able to do by themselves.

Coaches do not, however, explore past issues. While such "issues" may emerge in a coaching session, a coach is more typically concerned with helping clients to achieve results in the present and the future. A coach may, however, help a client to identify or articulate blocks or obstacles to gaining the desired results. This may be one way of acknowledging current realities. At the same time coaches typically assist clients to discover their inner resources and other alternatives which can reduce or eliminate such barriers.

Virtually anyone can benefit from coaching. To determine whether a coach might be of value to you, consider any of the following questions: Are you getting the most out of your life? Are you able to have the life you want? Are you doing what you want to be doing? Are you going to be financially independent within the next 15 years? Do you have what you most want? Are you doing what you value most in life? Do you have the meaning in life that you seek? If you answered "no" to any of these questions, it does not mean there is anything the matter with you, or that you have a "problem." What is does mean is that you want to gain results; you want to accomplish more in life; and you most likely want to build on your own strengths and resources to get where you want to go. A coach might be able to help you gain the results you want in the way you want.

To find a coach, learn more about coaching, or find out about the fees typical for coaching, please refer to Rey Carr's paper, How to Select a Coach, or go to the Peer Resources Coaching Pages. If you are interested in becoming a coach, go to the Coaching Events for the latest training workshop descriptions and schedules.

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